The struggles of the Arizona Coyotes have been no secret to fans and NHL executives alike. Threats of being locked out of Gila River Arena due to unpaid bills, and currently sitting in the basement of the NHL standings yet again are just a few of the nightmares the Coyotes have been dealing with.
Since their run to the Western Conference Final in 2011, the Arizona Coyotes have been widely considered the laughingstock of the NHL. No matter what moves were made, the team was never really considered a serious contender. The first year COVID-19 hit (the 2019-2020 season) things were looking up for the ‘Yotes as the playoffs were within reach. Then COVID-19 came, and they won their qualifying round series against the Nashville Predators to be bounced by the Colorado Avalanche in Round 1.
Yes, I was able to fit the past 10 years of successes of the Coyotes organization in only one paragraph. Things are looking bleak for the desert dogs again, which is why trading one of their best young assets in Clayton Keller could be the start of the solution.
Clayton Keller currently leads the team in points with 26. He has been with the Coyotes since 2016 and has been a regular point production man for them. I would go as far as saying he is one of the most underrated players in the NHL. Looking at his stat lines since he has been in the league shows some remarkable things.
In 327 games with Arizona, he has 219 points. That includes 15 power-play goals and 15 game-winning goals. For a player playing with not much talent around him, this is an excellent stat line. If Keller continues to play his career out in Arizona, there is a very high chance his skill will be wasted on a dying team.
The Coyotes would be able to get a nice return for Keller. The deal would have to be more of the blockbuster type because of his large contract. His cap hit is just over 7 million, so that cuts the list of possible Clayton Keller destinations down to a select amount of teams. Additionally, his contract runs through the 2027-2028 season.
Browsing through CapFriendly.com yields some interesting findings. The Anaheim Ducks have about 12 million in cap space available. On top of that, they are beginning to be a competitive team again with Trevor Zegras putting the Ducks back on the hockey map. Clayton Keller could fit in really well with that young up-and-coming team if Anaheim pays the price.
Another team that seemed like an interesting fit for Keller was the Seattle Kraken. They should just barely have enough space to bring him in. Keller could be the young gun that the Kraken need to start their rise up the Pacific Division.
Regardless, any trade that involves Clayton Keller would have to be a big one which obviously makes this situation unlikely. However, thinking about how fun it would be to watch him on a competitive team is something that will always beg the question: Should Arizona deal Clayton Keller?